Top 10 Biopic Movies of Artists

Frida (2002), a biopic drama film of the celebrated Mexican artist Frida Khalo, played and produced by Salma Hayek. The bold and free-spirited artists’ life has been illustrated starting from her tragic childhood accident, tumultuous relationship with her husband/artist Diego Rivera to her worldwide achievements in the art scenario. The movie was has been adapted from the book Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera.
Casting- Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina, Ashley Judd
Directed by- Julie Taymor


Salma Hayek as Frida Khalo, shown here painting the popular self portrait- The Broken Column




Mr. Turner (2014) the movie projects the latter half of the eccentric, British painter J.M.W. Turner's life and career. The film highlights the artist’s obsession with seascapes, the warm relationship he shared with his father and the admiration he won of his patrons and contemporaries. Timothy Spall plays the role of the artist in all honesty as an uncouth, flawed individual and a romanticist who explores the relationship between God and mankind.
Casting- Timothy Spall, Dorothy Atkinson, Marion Bailey, Paul Jesson
Directed by- Mike Leigh


Timothy Spall as J. W. Turner, shown here with the artists masterpiece- ‘The Harbor of Dieppe’


Lust for Life (1956), one of the most popular biographical film, it’s about the life of the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. The artists’ role played by Kirk Douglas is considered to be his careers best performance. The film marvelously illustrates Vincent’s disastrous personal relationships, fiercely strong bond with his beloved brother Theo van Gogh, obsessive passion for art and his inner struggles as a tortured genius. The movie is based on the 1934 novel ‘Lust for Life’ by Irving Stone.
Casting- Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, James Donald
Directed by- Vincente Minnelli


Kirk Douglas as Vincent van Gogh, painting the artists last artwork- Wheatfield with crows


The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) a biographical film of the renaissance master artist Michelangelo, mainly focusing on the difficulties and dilemmas he faced while painting the Sistine Chapel at the urging of Pope Julius II. A fitting cast of actors Charlton Heston as Michelangelo and Rex Harrison as Pope Julius II made the movie a classic piece. The movie is based on the book ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy’ by Irving Stone.
Casting- Charlton Heston, Rex Harrison, Alberto Lupo
Directed by- Carol Reed


Michelangelo played by Charlton Heston is shown here painting the Sistine Chapel.


Modigliani (2004), biopic narrative of Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani, spotlight of the movie is the artists’ rivalry with Pablo Picasso and his tragic romance with a beautiful Catholic girl Jeanne Hébuterne. The tear-jerking moments of the artists struggle for survival and his unconditional love for his muse and lover are profoundly moving. There is little fiction added to spice up the movie but that doesn’t stray the storyline from the actual events of the artists life. Andy Garcia's performance as the title role is spectacular.
Casting- Andy García, Elsa Zylberstein
Directed by- Mick Davis


Andy Garcia as Modigliani with one of the artists painting.


Pollock (2000), a film about the life and career of the expressionist painter Jackson Pollock, directed and played by Ed Harris. The story mainly focuses on the latter half of the artists’ life, how he gradually after decades of experience headed towards abstract expressionism and eventually his increasingly unstable nature, progressively deteriorated his career and personal life. Marcia Gay Harden’s remarkable acting as Pollock’s wife Lee Krasner, adds depth to the couple’s troubled relationship. The film is an adaption of the book ‘Jackson Pollock: An American Saga’.
Casting- Ed Harris, Marcia Gay Harden, Jennifer Connelly
Directed by- Ed Harris


Ed Harris and Marcia Gay Harden as Pollock and his wife Lee Krasner.


The Impressionists (2006) the docudrama is a biographical account of Impressionist artists- Claude Monet, Renoir, Degas, Édouard Manet, Cézanne and Bazille. The series depict how the founders of the art movement ‘Impressionism’ rejected the conventional rules of painting and created their own unique style, much to the annoyance of the traditionalist. The movie is based on documented letters and interviews of that era.
Casting- Julian Glover, Andrew Havill, Charlie Condou, Aden Gillett, Will Keene
Directed by- Tim Dunn


Andrew Havill played the young Claude Monet, shown here painting the popular artwork- ‘Arrival of the Normandy Train’


Big Eyes (2014), is a biographical film of American artist Margaret Keane. Her unique styles of making figures (mainly children) with melancholic big eyes become commercially successful in the art market. The movie narrates how her husband Walter Keane took credit for her art as the creator of the paintings, eventually Margaret decides to reveal the truth and expose Walter as a fraud. The legal battle for reclaiming her name and her self-discovery are the highlights of the movie. Starring Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz and directed by Tim Burton, the movie is a must-see.
Casting- Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz
Directed by- Tim Burton


Artist Margaret Keane and her husband Walter Keane played by Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz


Girl With a Pearl Earring (2003) The movie centers around the relationship of the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer and the model for his masterpiece painting ‘The Girl With a Pearl Earring’. The film events are mostly a work of fiction, as the model’s identity is still a mystery. In the film Grieta, played by Scarlett Johansson, is the model of the painting and a maid in the household of the artist Johannes Vermeer, played by British actor Colin Firth. The movie is an adaptation of a novel of the same name- ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring’ by Tracy Chevalier
Casting- Colin Firth, Scarlett Johansson
Directed by- Peter Webber


A scene from the movie, where the artist is shown helping his muse wear the pearl earring.


Loving Vincent (2016) a spectacular animation film based on Vincent van Goghs life. The uniqueness of the movie is that each frame of the animation is a hand painted oil painting on canvas. There are 56,800 frames, the coloring and compositions are inspired by Vincent’s art style and paintings. Thirty painters have worked together to complete the 80-minute movie in two years. The movie is anticipated to have a Christmas release, based on the trailer and its groundbreaking technique without doubt it’s going to be a breakthrough film.
Directed by- Dorota Kobiela



2 comments:

  1. I have seen half of these, thanks for the other half suggestions :) PS-Big Eyes is my favorite of the lot.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Richa, I'm glad I could add few more to your'Must See' list.

    ReplyDelete

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